The Face of the G.O.P.
Isn’t it telling that the Bush administration wants McCain, Arnold and Giuliani as prime-timers for the convention? They’re the three Republicans least in sync with the Bush administration. McCain is as close to a dissident as you can find. And Arnold keeps Bush at arm’s length. A more representative selection would be: Santorum, DeLay, Ashcroft. And then you see why the Bushies won’t let them hog the limelight. Too much honesty could wreck the campaign.
My guess is that Teddy Kennedy, Maxine Waters, and Barney Frank will be in limited visibility at the Democratic National Convention as well. Or, in more parallel fashion, Robert Byrd, Nancy Pelosi, and Janet Reno.
Further, I’d note that the popularity of Schwarzenegger and Guiliani, especially, have little to do with their politics. The former is very likable personally but is mainly known as a bodybuilder and action movie star. The latter’s national acclaim came almost entirely from his superb leadership after 9/11 and he first came to prominence as a tough federal prosecutor and then as a tough-on-crime mayor. McCain’s appeal comes from a variety of factors, including his Vietnam POW heroism and the fact that the press loves him because he’s willing to take public shots at fellow Republicans, making him a great source of easy quotes.